HR POLICY BRIEFING – 4/27/2021

Taylor to Testify at EEOC Hearing on the Impact of COVID-19 on U.S. Workers

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On April 28 at 10:30 a.m. ET, SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, will join the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and a panel of experts for a hearing on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers, employers’ difficulties navigating potential employment discrimination issues, and future challenges the pandemic may present for employees and employers. Learn more and tune in virtually here

SHRM looks forward to continuing to work with the EEOC to enact policies that build better workplaces for a better world.

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SHRM Launches New Global Talent Webinar Series

As the world of work is experiencing rapid change, so too are the roles of immigration and movement of talent in the global workplace. Policymakers in Washington, D.C., and across the globe are weighing policies that will have lasting impacts on workplace immigration.

To make sense of the evolving debate, SHRM has organized a series of panel discussions with experts in the field of immigration and global mobility.

Tune into the SHRM Global Talent Series “Workplace Immigration: A Brief History & Reform in the Biden Era,” on May 5 at 2 p.m. ET. This webcast has been approved by SHRM Certification for 1 PDC toward SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP recertification. Register for the webcast now.

SHRM Issues Workforce Development Policy Recommendations to U.S. Senate

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Ranking Member Richard Burr, R-N.C., recently announced their intention to develop bipartisan solutions on workforce development and called on stakeholders to submit policy ideas for consideration. On April 9, SHRM answered that call.

In a letter to the HELP Committee leaders, SHRM outlined a policy framework that would enhance workforce training, reform and improve current federal models, modernize apprenticeship programs, and encourage innovation across the country.

As employers, employees and the unemployed look toward a post-pandemic future, the public, private, not-for-profit and education sectors must create an inclusive world of work to rebuild while preparing for a better tomorrow. SHRM stands ready to partner with leaders in Congress and serve as a resource in their work to modernize the current workforce development system, close the skills gap and improve individual prosperity.

SHRM Submits Statement on Employer-Provided Education Assistance into Congressional Record

On April 20, the Senate HELP Committee held a full committee hearing titled “COVID-19 Recovery: Supporting Workers and Modernizing the Workforce Through Quality Education, Training, and Employment Opportunities.”

During the hearing, with the assistance of U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., SHRM submitted a statement into the Congressional record in support of employer-provided education assistance as a meaningful investment in the American workforce that will contribute to future economic growth. Hassan was a lead sponsor of a proposal introduced in the last Congress—S.4408, the Upskilling and Retraining Assistance Act—to update and modernize employer-provided education assistance.

Providing education assistance is an important tool that employers have long used to build, attract and retain a skilled workforce, and it will be a critical component of America’s economic recovery moving forward. As a longtime advocate of efforts to strengthen and expand employer-provided education assistance, SHRM is committed to working with lawmakers to support policies that expand access to this critical workplace benefit.

SHRM and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities co-chair the Section 127 Coalition, a broad cross section of nearly 100 organizations representing employers, labor and higher education, all of which are committed to preserving and strengthening employer-provided education assistance.

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SHRM Weighs in on the Paycheck Fairness Act

HR professionals have a unique perspective and expertise on the issue of pay equity, as they are directly involved in developing and implementing compensation strategies that attract and retain talent. When the U.S. House of Representatives considered H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act on April 14, SHRM submitted a letter to House leadership expressing concern that this legislation would restrict employers’ ability to base pay decisions on the legitimate business practices they currently use to determine compensation, such as professional experience, training, education, skills and shift differentials. The House passed the bill by a vote of 217-210.

“Equitable pay is critical to creating thriving workplaces, which is why SHRM vigorously supports the concept,” said Emily M. Dickens, SHRM chief of staff, head of government affairs and corporate secretary. “However, policy proposals that stifle HR professionals’ ability to reward employees based on business factors such as education, qualifications, skills and relevant experience do not adequately address the issue. SHRM will continue to work with policymakers to ensure employers have the flexibility to make pay decisions on their unique and legitimate business practices while ensuring everyone is equally compensated based on their work.”

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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SHRM Holds Workplace Policy Conference, Capitol Hill Advocacy Day

Last week, SHRM hosted its inaugural Workplace Policy Conference, convening workplace policy decision-makers, public opinion insiders and HR professionals from across the country. Over 300 SHRM members gained insights from U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Charlotte A. Burrows, renowned pollster and public opinion researcher Charlie Cook, and many other workplace policy leaders.

Attendees had the opportunity to build strategic relationships with HR peers and directly engage with members of Congress and their staffs during a Virtual Capitol Hill Advocacy Day.

But don’t just take it from us—hear firsthand from attendees and SHRM members about their experience at WPC21:

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“If you are anything like me, you look forward to HR conferences for various reasons. We are exposed to expert speakers (the best of the best) who share insider information about current concerns and potential problems on the horizon. We are active participants in panel discussions because we can ask questions in real time. We then can interact with others, sharing best practices and developing new ideas about how to support those we serve. WPC21 SHRM organizers were able to make this feel like a conference, not a Zoom meeting! I was able to connect with others via the messaging system [and] have a Zoom call that was very interactive with my senator’s office.” – Pam Berfet, SHRM-CP, Regional Human Resources Manager, Hendrick Automotive Group

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“It’s been an eye-opening experience to listen to pre-eminent thought leaders and legislators on the vexing issues facing our society and workplaces.” – Alex Clark, SHRM-SCP, Director of Human Resources, Sonstegard Foods Company

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SHRM’s Workplace Policy Conference is the exclusive platform for me to get firsthand knowledge on the priorities and policy changes for the coming year directly from the agencies that enforce labor and employment law. The WPC is a must for all HR leaders looking to forge ahead for better workplaces and ultimately a better world.” – Vincent Camacho, Managing Principal, Camacho Calvo Law Group, LLC

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Dickens to Join Discussion on Pandemic’s Impact on Women at Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an outsized impact on women in the workforce. Nearly one-third of female employed Americans know a woman who has left the workforce due to the pandemic.

On April 27, SHRM’s Emily M. Dickens will join Kate Meckler, international vice president at United Food and Commercial Workers International Union; Carla Marie Gallo, chief business officer at GK Pharmaceuticals in Manatí, Puerto Rico; and Kym Ramsey, founder and owner of The Willow School, in conversation with the Women’s Congressional Policy Institute to discuss SHRM’s research, tools and best HR practices that create workplace cultures supportive of women. Learn more here.

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CalSHRM Hosts 2021 California State HR Advocacy and Legislative Conference

Over 350 human resource and business professionals attended the CalSHRM Virtual California State HR Advocacy and Legislative Conference from April 14-16.

Attendees enjoyed sessions presented by a host of premier California employment attorneys and business experts who presented information on the current California legislative climate, recent case law implications in employment practices, and best practices for establishing risk-adverse policies under the laws in California.

One of the main features that separates this conference from all others in California is the opportunity for attendees to actively shape future workplace public policies and amplify HR’s voice at the California State Capitol. Close to 70 attendees seized the opportunity to meet with their state senators and assembly members and staff. Instead of walking over to the Capitol from the conference hotel as in previous years, attendees met with their representatives virtually. This new platform didn’t hinder their enthusiasm to represent the unique perspective of HR.

Attendees voiced their support for AB 116 and SB 665. AB 116, authored by Assembly Member Randy Voepel, proposes to exclude an employer contribution of student loan repayment up to $5,250 from the employee’s state income tax. SB 665, authored by Sen. Tom Umberg, would authorize a private employer to establish and maintain a written veterans’ preference employment policy.

If you would like to more information on the conference, or current legislation in California, please contact SHRM’s director of state affairs for California, Jason Gabhart, at Jason.Gabhart@shrm.org.

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SHRM CEO Speaks on Core Values in the Workplace

SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, participated in a conversation with Amira El-Gawly, Manifesta founder and CEO, on the power and impact of organizational core values, the critical role they play in building great teams and workplaces, and the role HR professionals play in building better workplaces. Manifesta is an organization that helps leaders serve employees and their organization through three core service areas: culture assessment and strategy, employee experiences, and leadership development. Watch the inaugural Office Hours conversation.

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SHRM PMQ Awarded Horizon Interactive Award and MUSE Creative Award

SHRM’s People Manager Qualification received a gold Horizon Interactive Award for best Web training/e-learning program in 2020, as well as a 2021 Gold MUSE Creative Award for best website. The SHRM PMQ is a virtual learning experience designed to build people management and leadership skills. It’s a self-paced, virtual learning experience that uniquely combines interactivity, gamification and edutainment to engage learners and build solid people management and team leadership skills.

Two new PMQ episodes recently became available, focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. After completing the workplace bias and social justice modules, learners will be able to advocate for HR policies that address social justice in the workplace, as well as:

  • Identify instances of bias in the workplace and lead difficult conversations with empathy.
  • Facilitate workplace conversations on difficult topics of identity and worldview.
  • Have proactive conversations at work to help reduce instances of bias.
  • Describe how social justice enters and affects the workplace.
  • Establish policies that incorporate the foundations of inclusive workplace culture.

For more information on SHRM’s PMQ, visit https://pmq.shrm.org.

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SHRM Recognizes Administrative Professionals Day

Administrative professionals play an integral role in the country’s businesses, and new research from SHRM shows they are extremely valued by managers and HR professionals.

New research conducted in light of Administrative Professionals Day shows the majority of individuals who have experience working with administrative professionals recognize it’s a challenging but instrumental role. Ninety-two percent of people who work with administrative professionals agreed that they are essential to the success of a team, and 86 percent agree a role in HR is a good career path for someone with administrative professional experience.

Realizing the Value of Untapped Talent

Last week, the SHRM Foundation launched the Untapped Talent website. The site highlights what businesses stand to gain by hiring workers from untapped talent pools, such as veterans, military spouses and caregivers, individuals ages 60 or older, disabled workers, those with a criminal record, and opportunity youth (nonstudent unemployed youth).

With support from the Walmart Foundation and in partnership with JFF, the SHRM Foundation created Untapped Talent Pools to put research, guides and templates at HR professionals’ fingertips to help them invest in untapped talent pools, diversify their workforce, and help individuals and businesses thrive by building inclusive workplaces.

Two key resources available on the site are Untapped Guiding Principles, a guide that provides strategy, daily practice and ways to avoid common pitfalls; and Beneath the Surface: A Unified Approach to Realizing the Value of Untapped Talent, a report that addresses the pandemic paradox and what organizations are doing and should be doing.

Visit untappedtalent.shrm.org for more information.

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HR Resliency: Equity in the Workplace

As we continue to elevate work, workers and workplaces, we cannot overlook the important role HR professionals play in building diverse, equitable and inclusive work environments. Last year, SHRM launched Together Forward @Work, a call to action to address racial equity in the workplace. In addition to providing tools and resources, we are compiling examples of organizations that are leading with innovation to create inclusive cultures that provide opportunity for all.

We want to hear how you are championing change in order to create better workplaces. Share your story about how you and your organization have taken steps to create equitable and inclusive workplace cultures.

Advancing Workplace Issues in 2021

SHRM is proud to be working with several organizations to highlight workplace issues in 2021. They include Fratelli Group, NAICU, Palladian Hill Strategies, Seyfarth Shaw LLP and Viatris.

As the Voice of All Things Work, SHRM pursues nonpartisan public policy to promote flexible, inclusive and equitable workplaces that help business thrive as talent is tapped, trained and empowered to reach its full potential. Policy not politics.


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